Tag Archive | conflict

G is Ghost, running from everything, by Jason Reynolds (book review)

book cover of Ghost by Jason Reynolds published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comPractice running? Every day?
As fast as he is? Nah…
But winning takes more than speed.

If middle-schooler Ghost can outrun that one terrible night, win his way onto the track team coached by an Olympic medalist, and get the right shoes, then he might just make it out of his NYC neighborhood.

Listen to the author read chapter one at the publisher’s website here for free, to learn exactly why Ghost started running so fast.

The paperback of Ghost (yep, named a National Book Award finalist *after* I read it) releases in August 2017, when book 2 of the series, Patina is published. I loved Reynolds’ Boy in the Black Suit (my no-spoiler review here), and I’m looking forward to the rest of this Track series!

Are you running to something or from it?
**kmm

Book info: Ghost (Track, book 1) / Jason Reynolds. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Running fast makes Ghost a better basketball player, but when he happens upon a track team practicing in the park, the middle schooler decides he’s faster than they are… and proves it.

Coach Brody convinces Mom to let Ghost run with the team, as long as he stays out of trouble at school. Not gonna be easy, is it?

How can Ghost afford the shoes and uniforms for a Junior Olympic qualifying team?
What if he messes up at school?
Why can’t he forget what sped up his running to start with?

First in the Track series, Ghost shows a solitary young man teetering between staying a loner and becoming a teammate, while still running from his indecisions.

E for Elsie & Eddie in The Art of Not Breathing, by Sarah Alexander (book review)

book cover of The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander published by HMH BFYR  | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer twin drowned 5 years ago,
her memory blanked out, her parents can’t cope.
Dive down, deeper, darker.

Free diving – no oxygen, no safety equipment – risky, exhilarating, and the only way that Elsie can get closer to uncovering what happened when she and Eddie were on the beach that terrible day…

In hardcover now and releasing in paperback on 11 April 2017, The Art of Not Breathing takes us where memory just cannot go.
**kmm

Book info: The Art of Not Breathing / Sarah Alexander. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The rough North Sea taunts Elsie, as the 16 year old struggles to remember what happened five years ago on this shore, where her twin Eddie vanished, her parents splintered to bits, and all the town gave up on her family.

Skipping school and retreating to the abandoned boathouse, the Scottish teen is startled to meet mysterious Tay and his pals there, free divers who dare the sea by diving deeper and deeper without oxygen or safety gear.

Of course, Elsie convinces the guys to teach her to free dive, certain that her memories about her mentally challenged twin’s disappearance will be unlocked by the depths.

But, what secret is Tay hiding?
Will Elsie ever remember what happened to Eddie?
Can anything put her family back together again?

C for Citra, chosen as new Scythe, by Neal Shusterman (book review)

book cover of Scythe by Neal Shusterman published by Simon Schuster  | recommended on BooksYALove.comNo war or hunger or illness,
Healing is automatic, births continue,
Someone must reduce the population!

Oversight by their global conclave and statistics from the Age of Mortality guide Scythes as they glean individuals in these long-lived times, keeping humanity’s numbers in bounds.

But one group of Scythes is killing to increase their own power. Do only Scythe Faraday and his reluctant apprentices Citra and Rowan stand in their way?

Yes, I read Scythe *before* it won the Printz Honor Award or was optioned by Universal Pictures!

Only those who don’t want to kill should be called as Scythes – would you be worthy?
**kmm

Book info: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, book 1) / Neal Shusterman. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Of course there must be a way to reduce the population when there is no longer disease, hunger, or war. Citra just never expected to become a Scythe or learn the arts of bringing death or fall in love with her co-apprentice Rowan or be required to kill him if she wins the apprenticeship!

As Scythe Faraday takes on 2 apprentices (unheard of!) and Scythe Goddard’s crew gleans a year’s quota of people at once (bloodbaths!), the power balance in this future world is shaking – will the covenant between humanity and their Scythes hold firm?

B = battle, attack, Ninth City Burning, by J. Patrick Black (book review)

book cover of Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black published by Ace  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAlien war never ending,
Youth who must master their powers.
Humanity’s future is at stake!

Ninth City Burning is great sci-fi with a magic twist, a big book that reads fast, as its many young characters take turns telling how they can use the aliens’ ‘thelemity’ power against them, find ways to work around centuries of military regulations, and scramble to shift the odds of humankind surviving to fight another day.

Be sure to read the first chapter by young cadet Jax at the publisher’s website here – this is not a drill…

**kmm

Book info: Ninth City Burning / J. Patrick Black. Ace, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Five centuries of predictable alien attacks, then changes. Cities turn thelemity against the aliens through the few who can control it. Country folk don’t even know that Earth is at war for its existence. And then…

Told in many voices – reluctant hero cadet Jax of Ninth City, traveler Naomi missing her musical family, overconfident problem-solver Kizabel, and more – this future filled with powerful choices, harnessing power, and the power of lies is a satisfyingly complex tale of aliens, near-magic, war, loyalty, love, and family ties.

A is Amina’s Voice, by Hena Khan (fiction) – school, mosque, American!

book cover of Amina's Voice by Hana Khan published by Salaam Reads  | recommended on BooksYALove.comSinging her heart out (alone),
Concerned about friends changing,
Trying to fit in, yet stay herself.

Amina has all the middle school worries, plus her slow progress in Arabic and her big brother’s behavior upsetting her Pakistani parents. But what happens to the Islamic Center is so much worse!

Ask for this March 2017 release (first in the new Salaam Reads imprint of Simon & Schuster) at your local library or favorite independent bookstore.

When has your community come together in response to crisis?
**kmm

Book info: Amina’s Voice / Hena Khan. Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Middle school is so confusing for Amina, as her best friend Soojin starts hanging out with the popular girls (they’ve always been so mean!) and her parents expect that she and big brother will excel at the Quran recitation contest (so difficult for her to pronounce Arabic properly).

Add to all this stress one chorus concert (her voice teacher wants her to sing a solo, but Amina is too shy), two times the trouble with fidgety Bradley and mean Emily in their group Oregon Trail project, and three months that her strict uncle from Pakistan will be staying in their suburban Milwaukee home!

When terrible things happen to their beautiful Islamic Center, Amina and her family wonder how their community can recover.

What can one girl do to help?
How brave can she be?

Memory Girl, by Linda Joy Singleton (fiction) – can she stay herself?

book cover of Memory Girl by Linda Joy Singleton published by CBAY Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comLife is too interesting to follow every rule.
Why must she be just a vessel for others’ memories?
Why can’t Jennza remain herself?

Centuries after a mind-virus wiped out humanity, only ShareHaven island research station remains, where no one ever dies. Each 25 years, carefully stored memories of Lost Ones are implanted into youth as lucky Families choose, their specific talents once again in this small world.

But Jennza wants to remember her explorations of the forbidden seashore and its amazing creatures, not have her 15 years of life overrun by decades of someone else’s memories through memdenity. Perhaps scientist Lila is hinting that this is possible. Maybe that’s how Nate survives outside the Fence…

What memories would you keep, above all others?
**kmm

Book info: Memory Girl / Linda Joy Singleton. CBAY Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: No one dies on ShareHaven in the centuries after mind-virus, but if 15 year old Jennza wants to be more than just a body for someone else’s life-memories, her time is running out.

When she’s Chosen by a Family known for practical hard work, Jennza knows she’ll miss sneaking over the safety fence to the sea cave creatures and mysterious boy Nate, as her own memories will be submerged by the memdenity of a Lost One whose skills are now needed.

Murder strikes their island stronghold, Jennza spots Nate inside ShareHaven, and someone else sees her secret.

How can Nate live outside the Fence where terrible beasts prowl the night?
Who is helping Jennza try to contact Nate?
Why does Daisy in her new Family hate the Milly whose memories Jennza will receive?

This future tale brings a few twists into the carefully ordered world that Jennza and her 14 born-mates must navigate as old minds that lived centuries ago are put into their young bodies.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (fiction) – police + prejudice = self-protection or murder?

book cover of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas published by Balzer + Bray  | recommended on BooksYALove.comUnarmed, he’s shot by police.
Horrified, she’s the only witness.
Telling the truth will endanger her family – can she do it?

At 16, Starr should be concerned with grades, love, and her future – not drive-by shootings and police brutality in her poor neighborhood, not white kids at her suburban private school “protesting” Kahlil’s death as a way to skip class, not worrying if her testimony will bring down the wrath of gang members and police.

Happy book birthday to The Hate U Give – wish it could be purely fiction, instead of ‘straight from the headlines’ lived experience…

How can we stop this cycle of threat, miscommunication, and death?
**kmm

Book info:The Hate U Give / Angie Thomas. Balzer + Bray, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kahlil’s murder during a routine traffic stop upends 16 year old Starr’s world as she mourns her friend’s death with her inner city neighbors, struggles to explain it to her white prep school classmates, and must decide whether to testify against that police officer, endangering everything.

Starr is two versions of herself – automatically cool black girl at the suburban prep school her parents sacrifice to pay for and then “Big Mav’s daughter who work in the store” in their poor neighborhood.

Truth or safety? Gangs and their turf wars are woven into Garden Heights.
Will her testimony send the white cop to trial? Not likely.
Can she keep being two different people, at home and at school? Tension, pressure…

If white boyfriend Chris finds out that Starr is the only witness to Kahlil’s death, surely he’ll treat her differently, and that she just couldn’t bear.

Too true, too real, The Hate U Give moves from one fatal mistake to a torrent of prejudgment and violence.

Racism, riot, murders: Dreamland Burning (fiction), by Jennifer Latham

book cover of Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham published by Little Brown  | recommended on BooksYALove.comRioting and looting for 14 hours,
Murder, torture, arson –
Whites erasing black community

Will is already uncomfortable as son of white father and Osage mother, so when the KKK starts recruiting in Tulsa just as he’s getting to know a Negro brother and sister, how should he react?

Rowan didn’t expect to find a body in her Tulsa yard this summer, or to swap comfortable lab internship for charity clinic work on ‘that side’ of town, or to be slammed with prejudices that her black mother and white father had shielded her from.

Listen to an interview with author Jennifer Latham here for some deep background and insights on why she wrote this book about this 1921 event which wasn’t openly discussed by black or white families in Tulsa for over 50 years.

Happy book birthday to Dreamland Burning! Look for it at your local library or independent bookstore, and find Jennifer’s first book Scarlett Undercover (my no-spoiler recommendation here) there, too.

How to see friendship as a bridge instead of a wall?
**kmm

Book info: Dreamland Burning / Jennifer Latham. Little Brown, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: First day of Rowan’s summer vacation – time to sleep in before lab internship begins, text her best friend, find a dead body in the back yard!? As the biracial teen investigates, details about Tulsa’s vicious and never-discussed 1921 race riot hit her as hard as the new episodes of prejudice she experiences today.

Working in Pop’s store, William sees his father sell Victrolas to Negro families, despite Jim Crow laws. Vernon Fish is recruiting Pop for the KKK and mocks Will as ‘half-breed’ for his Osage mother. Will decides to dare as his Pop does when a black teen wants to buy a record player, little imagining that getting to know Joseph and little sister Ruby as people instead of Negroes may shortly endanger all their lives.

Schedule glitch nixes Rowan’s resume-building internship, so she’s directed to work at the free clinic way across town from her fancy neighborhood and private school. She’ll check with her parents later.

In 1921, reports of a Negro man assaulting a white woman spread like wildfire, and white Tulsans begin attacking the black Greenwood section of town with nooses, guns, and greed.

Can Will really shoot anyone coming to the shop during the riot?
Who is the body under the floor of the servant house?
How does Rowan’s story today converge with Will’s actions over 90 years ago?

Told in voices past and present, this long-silenced episode of history comes vividly alive, as Rowan tries to understand what really happened after World War I when Will struggled to help Joseph and Ruby survive.

Stone Mirrors, breaking sculpture barriers (fiction), by Jeannine Atkins

book cover of Stone Mirrors by Jeannine Atkins published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAccused unjustly, white against black.
Hurt unfairly, strong against weak.
Dream pursued intensely, self against society.

How did an impoverished young woman, orphaned by her Ojibwe (Chippewa) mother and freedman black father, overcome being on trial for white classmates’ poisoning during the Civil War to become a prominent sculptor living in Italy?

Check out the Google Doodle honoring her on Feb. 1, to meet Edmonia Lewis, whose determination to create art drove her to become the first noted woman sculptor of African-American and Native American descent.

Read an excerpt for this January 2017 novel in verse here courtesy of the publisher, then head to your local library or independent bookstore.

How far would you travel to accomplish your dream?
**kmm

Book info: Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis / Jeannine Atkins. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sketching is like breathing for Edmonia, but her art classes at Oberlin Academy can’t prepare the scholarship girl for false accusations of theft and poisoning which may steal her opportunity to be an artist.

Living in the North during the Civil War doesn’t make the skin given by her freedman father any less dark. Dressing in crinolines like her white classmates doesn’t lessen her longing for the forests and woodsmoke of her mother’s Ojibwe village. Being poor and different does make her the ideal scapegoat for her white classmates’ indiscreet drinking – “poisoned by Edmonia!”

Days in the courtroom, scholarship revoked, the young woman must leave town, earn a living, seek the smallest possibility that she may ever sculpt again – and she leaps at opportunity when it finds her!

This novel in verse illumines the sparse facts of Edmonia’s life with possible details as we watch her grow into a noted sculptor living in Italy in the late 1800s when neither women nor persons of color were celebrated for their artistic talents.

Ozzie’s world is shrinking At the Edge of the Universe (fiction) by Shaun David Hutchinson

book cover of At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com First Tommy is gone,
then the memory of him is gone from every mind,
except one…

Why can’t anyone remember Tommy? His best friend since 2nd grade, boyfriend since 8th grade, love of his life – by his side on July 3rd, gone on July 4th, and no one remembers him but Ozzie!

Just published this week, you can find Ozzie’s story – with each chapter title showing a smaller and smaller diameter of the universe from science websites – at your local library or independent bookstore now.

What do you do when a friend leaves?
**kmm

Book info: At the Edge of the Universe / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: If Ozzie can just find where his boyfriend Tommy has gone, then the high school senior can stop his family from disintegrating, celebrate gender-fluid best friend Lua’s musical success, and prove to everyone that Tommy does exist!

And discover why lab partner Calvin started cutting himself after quitting the wrestling team.

And stop the universe from shrinking, shrinking, with his little Florida town at the center.